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Things to see and do in Mannum

Home > Adelaide > Fun Things To Do | Fun for Children | Family | Escape the City | Day Trips
by Dave Walsh (subscribe)
I enjoy writing about Adelaide and its many attractions. If you think Adelaide is boring, the problem is not with Adelaide. adelaideunearthed.blogspot.com.au/
Published February 7th 2014
A town with a busy past and a more leisurely future
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The Paddle Steamer Marion at Mannum


Mannum is a historic town on the banks of the River Murray in South Australia. It's around an hour's drive from Adelaide and is one of the favourite holiday destinations for people living in Adelaide. Active water sports such as wakeboarding, kayaking, canoeing, and water skiing are all common here, while fishing, the Mannum Waterfalls, and cruising on Mannum houseboats are also great ways to pass the time in this pleasant place.

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Long Forgotten Remains of Mannum History Lie Outside the Town


This part of the River Murray has been inhabited for thousands of years, with the original occupants thriving on the rich river aquatic life before Mannum history even started. In 1840 European settlers arrived, and it wasn't long before the potential of the paddle steamer was recognised for transporting goods and farm produce on the River Murray. A shipbuilding industry developed, which in turn attracted other trades and helped Mannum become prosperous.

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The Original Offices of John Shearer Farm Machinery


Although construction of a railway to Murray Bridge reduced the demand for river transport, Mannum houseboats continue to be in demand to the present day. Other local industry includes the John Shearer farm machinery factory at Mannum which opened in 1877, and still does even today under the current ownership of Horwood Bagshaw.

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The Grand Mannum Institute


The signs of past prosperity are quite obvious as you walk about the town today. Some rather imposing buildings line Randell Street, the main street named after the founder of the town. The magnificent 1882 Mannum Institute building is much larger than similar buildings in Adelaide country towns, and has been used as a council chambers, a court, and a picture theatre before falling into disuse.

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Former Baseby's Butcher's Shop Established 1867


There are numerous other reminders of the past along Randell Street - a butcher's shopfront clad in tiles for easy cleaning, a clock dated 1854, the original dry dock used for repairing paddle steamers from 1876, and some legacies of the original Shearers' factory around the car park and public toilets.

Fortunately the former Mannum Council have recognised the heritage value of their old structures, and have fitted plaques to many describing their history.

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An Antique Clock from 1854


The Friends of Mannum Walking Trails have developed three historic walks to help visitors explore Mannum history by viewing significant places and heritage buildings. I found the online map a little small and lacking a few details, so if you plan to do the walk call in at the Visitor Information Centre. You can get a paper copy of the map there, and check directions with staff before you set off.

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Paddle Steamer Murray Princess @ Mannum


The Murraylands region extends from Morgan in the north to Meningie and the Coorong in the south, with many exotic sounding small towns like Sedan, Purnong and Nildottie in between.

If you plan to explore the area then Mannum is a handy central base. I like its country charm, but if you prefer the bright lights and fast food of a larger city then Murray Bridge may be for you.

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Mannum Hotel Accommodation is Central


When staying in town, Mannum accommodation on offer includes a good range of options from shacks on the river and the Mannum Caravan Park to accommodation at the Mannum Hotel. If you're staying in winter perhaps opt for the upper floor, as the river can flood very high in Mannum - but the last big flood was in 1956. It's probably the reason the Mannum pipeline to Adelaide was built, eliminating the need for a railway dam at scenic Totness Recreation Park.

Interestingly the Mannum Hotel was known as the Bogan Hotel until 1886, but it seems the word meant something quite different back then.

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A Quirky House on the Main Street


There are lots of things to see and do in Mannum - exploring wrecks on the canoe trail, visit the Mannum Waterfalls nearby in cooler weather, active water sports, or keep fit on the bike trails. Experienced and fit cyclists can do the 50 km Murray Plains Cycle Trek to Sedan.

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Mannum Shopping on the Main Street


The best part of it all is that you can have a cooling swim in the river when you're done! For more details of local event and fun things to do in Mannum, see the Mannum town website.
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Why? Take a river break
When: Anytime
Phone: 1300 626 686
Where: Mannum, SA
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Dave, I first thought "not another gold" but this article is a revelation! Thanks for putting Mannum on the map for me.
by glenop (score: 2|823) 1286 days ago
Great piece Dave - I love Mannum.
by Annie Waddington-Feather (score: 2|184) 1280 days ago
New to South Australia, never heard of Mannum, will be heading there next weekend, great article :-)
by beasy (score: 1|50) 1244 days ago
Hi Dave. Maybe you can write about our new (well, 7 months old now) monthly Mannum Markets. Lots of local arts and crafts, food, beautiful atmosphere right by the river with local musicians playing, etc. It's usually on the first Sunday of each month but will be on January 8th 2017 this month due to New Years Day. It's a lovely day out with lots to see!
by Skudg (score: 1|17) 228 days ago
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